Friday, July 29, 2005

Breakups for Action Movie-Obsessed Guys

Dude, I know it's like over between you two, and you're probably having to deal with all these, like, emotions and shit, and I know you're not good at all that so I thought I'd put together some words and pictures and things to help you through it. But in ways you'll totally understand and also maybe dig.

And I know how we spend most of our time talking about way cool stunts from movies so I'll them as examples.

You're probably feeling a bit like you've been set on fire and are running around totally trying to deal with that fact.

But you're thinking - hey, why can't it be different? Why can't I be the guy I really am, which is the guy who calmly walks towards the camera as the building/tanker explodes behind me?

Well wanting it won't make it happen. And anyway, here's the thing, right - if you see the breakup as a big explosion, you're already giving up. So we'll have to think of some other ways of thinking this shit through. And by ways, I mean stunts.

A really cool stunt is when a car goes up on two wheels and drives like that for a bit. Now, usually when that happens the person driving is being chased, and so they go up on the two wheels because they have to, like to drive down a narrow alley or to avoid running someone over. But sometimes, even if the chips are down, and you feel like you've just lost the use of one half of your vehicle and you're careening along in a dangerous way, you have to go "screw this, I'm doing a handstand out the window."

Another awesome stunt is when someone is riding a motorbike and then someone else steps out from behind a dumpster or something and hits them square in the chest with a big plank of wood, and the motorbike keeps on going but the guy riding it gets knocked back. That's so cool when that happens. But I can't find any pictures of it and also, it's not really a relevant metaphor for break-up situations.

Better yet is that old classic, when someone leaps a car from one building to another. I get so pumped up when that happened, and the hair on my neck goes tingling (only sometimes). I'm pretty sure you feel the same way. So what you have to think is that even though you've just smashed through a carpark barrier or maybe even a plate glass window, there'll be something on the other side to catch you, somewhere safe to land. And you probably won't be airborne for that long (but enjoy it while you are!!!)

Now if you're not, you know, driving a car and you go off the edge of something, that safe landing place might not be assured. This is especially so IF YOU ARE ON A MOTORBIKE.

I can't stress that enough. I shouldn't even have to stress it, you're not a baby. But you will know that even though driving a motorbike off or through something might not be the safest thing vis a vis the whole landing scenario, it doesn't mean you're stuffed. Because as you're falling, you can push off from the motorbike and fall separately from it. If you do this, it's pretty likely that you'll land in some water or at least roll when you land, and you might be bruised a bit but you'll be back on your feet in no time.

And don't forget, extra points for windmilling your arms and legs as you're falling, as if to say "WOAH!!!" but physically, not with words. I think it's what they call "body language" and I think I heard on Dr Phil that something like 90% of communication is through "body language". So the windmilling arms is pretty important. And I wasn't watching Dr Phil, I was just in the room when my mum was watching it (as is her wont).

But even if you haven't got a bike and you're falling, say if it's just you and a pair of skis facing the long drop, things will be alright.

Assuming you have a parachute (I'm sure you do). Otherwise you are pretty much fucked. I'm sorry to say it but you are. (The landing places I've been talking about are what you could call your "friendship network" or "circle of supportive listeners" and the skiing thing was just me wandering abit. Basically your friends will help you out.)

Oh and hey don't you love it when a car gets some air and spins over so it's UPSIDE DOWN??? That is so awesome. It's on a level of awesomeness I can't describe.

You're like the green car in this picture, and she's like the red one driving along next to you (actually drag racing) when WHAM! that green semi pulls out of nowhere and you go up over the front and - well, you can see for yourself. I suppose in this case the green semi represents your mum calling Jenny's mum and asking where you are. And the bits of metal coming off your car are like the last mangled bits of dignity you had falling away to the roadside (also she, the red car, will drive straight over them, further crushing them).

Let's talk helicopters, because they're going to come up sometime I suppose. You might think that after surviving the recent jump or whatever that you can handle anything, and you might get self-destructive. This is when you might decide to jump a helicopter.

I know I'm being a bit obscure so I'll spell it out - the helicopter in question has brown hair and she's always trying to sit next to you in Maths Methods. And if you try to jump her you will be lacerated by her spinning blades. Trust me, man, just trust me on this one.

So to finish off, I just want to say that even though you're essentially hanging from a rope being dragged behind the speeding army truck of love, or running along the roof of a speeding train of a relationship heading towards the low bridge of heartbreak, or trying to regain control of the falling plane called emotional wellbeing as the pilot named "Your Happiness" is slumped unconscious over the controls: even though all of these things are literally true (literally means not really), you can at least be safe in the knowledge that your good buddy is here to help.

Especially if the helping involves driving a hot car through some market stalls.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Malt Champagne

Last night was the launch of Malthouse Theatre's Spring Season, held at the Gin Palace. This makes for a welcome change from launching seasons in the foyer of the Malthouse itself, with its bright lights and all. This time round, we were treated to lots of champagne cocktails and an ok amount of speechifying.

No food. But the cocktails were good.

Can't recall who the first guy to get up was, but he seemed to be on the board or some kind of executive/business type. He held a large beer the entire time he was orating, which I thought was impressive. He also sort of mystified me by arguing that theatre in Melbourne was the Forgotten Art (as compared to, what, opera? Ballet?). Seeing as how more people have been to the theatre this year than have gone to cabaret, jazz gigs, stand up, classical concerts or either of the above mentioned forms, I don't know what's been forgotten. Maybe he meant the Forgettable Art, which a lot of it is. He did say that he wanted that to change, bringing theatre back into the boardrooms - huh? Woah there big boy! What does that mean? The whole boardroom comment got a lot of mileage from my +1, the lovely A, who was equally stumped by the possible connotations.

Michael Kantor got up then and ran us through the 9 shows of the next season, which I was pleased to see include Ben Ellis' adaptation of Kafka's Metamorphosis set in suburban Australia. Ben's a good dude so it's great to see Malthouse supporting him again. The other things I like are the three indie shows which are being mounted in the Tower Theatre, including a Umi Umiamare piece directed by Moira Finucane, and the show Telefunken which Oubykh Theatre put on in the Foundry in North Fitz. last year. Very underground, so big up to Stephen Armstrong for picking up on it.

Went home and made a massive pumpkin and lentil lasagne.
I am a genius.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Big Willy Style

Grandpa Joe! Grandpa Joe! I got the golden ticket!

Well, I didn't, but someone did. Space limitations prevented me from publishing the full text of this item of correspondence in Art of the City this week, so I thought I'd post it here to make everyone all green-eyed and tooth-gnashingly envious, like.

Megan K. scored an invite to the red carpet world premiere of the new Tim Burton rendition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And it was only her second day in London. Nice work. Here's what she reported back.

" Held at the Odeon Theatre in London's Leicester Square on Sunday, July 17, the London premiere of Tim Burton's Charlie and The Chocolate Factory was like being in a chocolate coated dream. Walking the red carpet, (which was actually green - a la edible Wonka style grass), was madness, larger than life lollies adorning the way and frenzied fans and press alike awaiting star Johnny Depp's arrival.

Dressed in a blue suit, baggy hat, and sporting Pirates of The Carribean facial hair, Mr Depp certainly didn't disappoint. Other green carpeters included stars Helena Bonham Carter, David Kelly (Grandpa Joe), and Deep Roy (yes, that's his name) who plays not one but every single oompa loompa!! Other guests included Val Kilmer, British chat show hosts Jonathan Ross and Graham Norton, a girl group I didn't recognise and Mackenzie Crook, aka Gareth from The Office!!

Inside, Depp, along with director Tim Burton and the kids who play the reincarnated Charlie (the super cute boy from Finding Neverland!), Veruca, Violet, Mike and Augustus introduced the film and we were away. As a Charlie purist - I'm not joking when I say I can sing and talk along with the entire original film - I was excited to see this new adaptation and with a Wonka Fudgemallow Delight to munch on it was a pleasure to see Burton's version of Charlie. Depp's Wonka is quite dark and weird, and there are many childhood flashbacks which help to explain his eccentricity; there are new oompa loopma songs when each of the bad eggs, (or nuts as the case may be this time around!), are sucked up pipes, turned into blueberries, sent down garbage chutes and shrunk by Wonka vision; there are lots of laughs and although it is quite different to the original it was really enjoyable.

Afterwards, clutching our very own Golden Tickets, we were then bussed to the exlcusive after party which was AMAZING. Like being at a really excellent kids birthday party x 100, doubled and then doubled again, with a cherry on top. Cursing myself for only bringing a small handbag into which to cram chocolatey souvenirs, we made our way around the party tasting and trying everything from lollies galore, freshly made fairy floss, milkshakes, and chocolate fondue fountains - white and milk no less- with strawberries, donuts, and various other sweet treets to dip in. The staff manning these fountains were on drip duty, helping many a hand to mouth to avoid the almost unavoidable wearing of chocolate down one's front, or at least chin. Then came my personal highlight - a bounce inside Wonka's Giant Glass Elevator, a massive indoor translucent cube, a jumping castle which, with equal parts chocolate, champagne and over-excitedness, combined for a top night and a fairly sugary hangover! With the child stars hitting the dance floor and the adult ones hovering above in the VIP room, it was a great night all around - I had so much chocolate that even if I'd been offered a lifetime supply I would've had to turn it down for fear of bursting at the seams! "

Friday, July 22, 2005

A Cocktail of Rare Emotions


Last night's events saw the production of a hitherto unknown array of internal reactions. I will describe these emotions, with accompanying images to illustrate.

The Melbourne OnScreen launch kicked off proceedings. I rallied to troops at work and realised we were running late. I was MILDLY TREPIDATIOUS:

We wandered down through the forlorn wasteland, I mean exciting new development that is the Docklands precinct, and made our way past the cyclone wire and sluiced canals to Studio 5 of the film studios there. Unlike the previous night's gala stars-and-clouds venue of the Regent Ballroom, the Studio was a cold, gleaming steel nightmare. The crowd was uniformly attired in black, mostly older, and reeking of political dollars. I felt out of place. I was NONPLUSSED. But then I spied the catering:

And was CHUFFED. They made no bones about the fact that the beer was VB, but the wine was tasty and the food supoib - they must have done a bulk deal on the fetta since it was pretty much on everything, but bowls of mushroom risotto, pizzetta, folded pastries etc were much appreciated. It was also outrageously vego-friendly. I was BOUYED.

This feeling wasn't to last long - once the speeches kicked off, I found myself listening to a long succession of businesspeople and pollies high-fiving the Melbourne film industry, backslapping their fellow attendees and generally bigging-up themselves. It was boring. And I felt DESPONDENT.

As my ennui increased, I soon became BEMUSED:

I was forced to turn off vital portions of my brain in order to stay standing. In fact, this gradual dimming of awareness led me into a situation of which I had been afraid since the advent of mobile technologies: I SMSed someone who turned out to be standing two feet behind me.

At first, when this dawned on me, I was FLABBERGASTED:

But I eventually found the humour in the situation, and was TICKLED.

In case it's not obvious, I couldn't wait to get out of there. So we cabbed it to Dancehouse in North Carlton for the opening of the second season of 3D - Dance, Dramaturgy and Design. Since the first round hadn't entirely lived up to my hopes, I was MILDLY DUBIOUS.

My concerns were misplaced. The first performance, by State of Flux, began with a few minutes of darkness and some neato live vibraphone, and once lights came on and the five dancers (including one wheelchaired) started up with their crazy impro contact stuff, I was INTRIGUED.

This soon changed to a QUIETLY APPRECIATIVE attitude.

Which continued throughout the second piece, Julia and Phoebe Robinson's Quiet Listening Exercises. That was ace. Each audience member had their own headphones, and listened to the electronic soundtrack to the piece in a private bubble of rumination. I emerged in a CONTEMPLATIVE MOOD.

After an interval, the evening was rounded off by a long, old-school absurdist piece of little to no dance by Five Square Metres. I won't go on at length about it. I did contain some ok moments. But overall, it left me PISSED.

After the show was over, there was more fine catering: eggplant dip with mini sourdough slices; cheese and same; some meaty thing I didn't look at; fetta-stuffed olives and an olive-like thing that none of us could identify, which left me feeling VEXED.

And so, a few more wines and a good gab later, I left and walked home to the UNREMITTING TERROR THAT IS MY DOMESTIC LIFE:

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Mayhem, mayhaps, may be a strong word. But it felt like that getting in. Probably due to my lack of organisational ability. Possibly due to the fact that I failed to arrange my entry pass to the afterparty until today, and even that entailed agreeing to meet the festival publicist in the Martini Bar of the Westin Hotel at 10.30pm. Did I know what said publicist looks like? No. Did she know what I looked like? No. Did she turn up? As far as I can But then, she had other things to worry about. Like the opening night afterparty.

End of story: I got in (did you expect anything less? Of course you did. I know I did. In fact I was halfway home when my editor SMSed me and said she'd have things sorted in a sec. But then, to quote that Modern Classic The Last Days of Disco, "I'm not that guy. I WILL take no for an answer.")

Do you care about my travails gaining entry? No. You only care to hear of one thing.

The Catering.

Supoib. Plenty of booze and the food was quality stuff. I didn't eat much since I'm currently in Cheap Eats reviewer mode and am keeping my stomach open for the task (ewwwww), but I sampled a bite or two and gave them two thumbs up. Admittedly, I spilled the stuffing of a mini-baguette which left a few pieces of diced carrot on my trouser leg, prompting my conversational partner to comment that I now looked as if I'd thrown up on myself (and a little bit on his shoe). Thanks. Just the impression I was trying to impart.

But two swift swipes of the hand and I am clean.

The event was officially black-tie. To me, black tie means brown tie. Since my favourite suit is a grody brown 70s number, it's a done deal. My portrait pic above features said suit.

Anyway, the MIFF opening was full to capacity with film folks too various to mention. My fave moment came when a colleague asked an actor "Weren't you in Blackrock?" To which he replied "No, you're thinking of _____. I'm ______ from Last Man Standing." Oops. She didn't know LMS. I thought it was funny because I'd just watched the show tonight (taped - is that wrong?).

Overall, though, the night confirmed what I've thought for a while: the film crowd are a difficult bunch. It's not that they're not nice people, or not genuine or interesting or whatever.

It's just that THEY'RE SO DRIVEN.

The theatre crowd, the musos, the artists, the dancers, the photographers, the writers (bless), the thinkers, the lovers, the dreamers and me...we do what we can, and sometimes that's a lot. But the film folk are a different breed. If you've ever worked on films, you know how much effort, ambition, persistence and sheer bloody-minded stubborn insanity is required to get to the final edit, and most of us just haven't got it in us. As for the actors, they've got to have the same qualities in order to sit around for eight hours before pulling off the performance of their careers, six times in succession, before sitting around for another two hours before the next take.

MIFF: I was stumbling around the ankles of giants here. Not to say I didn't have a great time. I did. But I don't know that I'll ever feel truly ruly comfortable around the film kids. Cinematophiles, yes. I can watch a film with the best of 'em. But the movers and shakers, whirring shutters and final cutters: you are a world I may never understand. Mayhem. Mayhaps.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Swing Low, Sing Low

I like it when people speak in a deeper voice than usual, put on a deep voice, I suppose you'd say. It makes me happy, makes me feel a little like Kojak on a good day.

I suppose it's because it makes someone sound a little more vulnerable; it's opening yourself up to something. You simply cannot speak in an unusually deep voice to just anyone. Try ordering a coffee somewhere that way. Or call your boss. Or return a DVD.

Anyway, it's especially cute when someone with a higher voice (mostly females) do it, because there's the sense of a natural disadvantage. And even the biggest haters of Barry White had to admit - he sounded pretty freakin sexy.

Making your voice higher than the norm is, however, generally speaking, annoying.

Also, I've found that if you ask someone to sing a song in a deep voice, they'll generally choose Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

Monday, July 18, 2005

A Very Funny Tale

A friend of a friend plays in this band - you might have heard of them, but probably not. Anyway, this guy, Damien, is your typical scruffy rock dude. And on Friday he went out, got roaring drunk and decided a bite to eat would help him sober up.
He went to Macdonalds on Bourke St and promptly fell asleep. He was woken by a young male policeman telling him to get out. Which he did. And crossed the road to Hungry Jacks, where he fell asleep again. And was woken by the same cop, who'd lost his cool now and gave him the "you're nicked" routine, dragged him out, called for backup (bit overenthusiastic there) and handed him over to the two female cops who showed up.
Once PC Plod had left to continue his one-man mission to clean up the streets of Melbourne, the two new constables apologised profusely for his behaviour, and offered to drive Damien home in the van. He was pretty pleased, but was a bit lost when, during the trip, they kept on saying how they were his biggest fans. Huh? And then they asked why his ID had said Damien Whatever instead of his real name. He told them that he used a stage name. Could they get an autograph, they asked?

And gradually it dawned that they thought he was Nic Cester, lead singer of Jet. So he played along.

To the point where when they dropped him home, he ran upstairs, found his copy of the Jet CD and signed it for them.

Signed it Nic Cester, of course.

I feel so sorry for those poor fans. But at least they had their brush with greatness, even if it was a hollow one.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

We live in furious times, molten times. A new millenium, apparently. Though I have my doubts.

Way back in the 1990s, for those who remember them (a rare few, since we're talking about that age when cavemen and dinosaurs battled for Earth's supremacy), a small bunch of Melbourne theatre folk had a very good idea. That idea turned into The Black Swan of Trespass. I was busy, however, during all this, telling friends and random tram passengers that "mobile phones will never take off" and "the internet is just a passing fad". History is written by the victor, and I, in this regard, am a loser. As in many others.

Black Swan opened again in Melbourne on Friday night, no longer in the basement of director Chris Kohn's North Melbourne home, but in the brand spankin new Tower Theatre of the Malthouse. You can read about the show
elsewhere. For now, you are wondering this:

How was the afterparty?

The Tower is a decent theatre with a fine entrance: you walk through a glass corridor backed by a tropical scene, and form something of a spectacle to the crowd in the foyer below. Everyone knows I like a large tropical scene on a wall, as attested to by this shot of me rocking out at work (faces blacked out to protect the innocent). That backdrop was made with the (questionable misuse of) the Age's spiffy 4th floor colour printer. We love it. And let me tell you, sneaking several hundred A3 pages across the floor isn't easy.

Anyway, back to the Malthouse.

The upstairs mezzanine that leads onto the Tower entrance is hardly the spot for a post-show drinks session. The narrow, balconied space is ideal if you're looking for elbowed ribs, false apologies and no clear sightlines. Otherwise, you're screwed.

The food was ambiguous. It seems to be a Malthouse truism that the catering is in proportion with the publicity surrounding an opening, though this has nothing to do with the quality of the show. See: Woman Bomb. Abso-freakin-lutely ace food afterwards (crap show though). Massive publicity. Black Swan of Trespass. Great show, unidentifiable foodstuffs (which is not good for the vego contingent.) That said, drinks were ahoy and aplenty.

At some point, Malthouse Executive Producer Stephen Armstrong invited all and sundry back to his Collins St apartment for curry and booze, and a short bike trip later I found meself amidst the glitterati...I mean theatrati. Which don't sound so good, but cuts a figure nonetheless.

Black Swan director Kohn cuts some fine tunes as a DJ. The small party was pumping most of the time he manned Armstrong's decks. The 70-something Gavan O'Leary, who played a mosquito in the show, was first on the dancefloor accompanied by his partner, and their mean rug-cutting soon drew in the followers. For a party of only a dozen or so, it was impressive to see half the crowd doing the moves.

Sure, there were dance-offs of the old school variety. My +1 for the night, Marcus S, had his ass gently and quietly kicked by the show's femme fatale, Jacklyn B, whilst I was personally subjected to a serious smackdown from writer Lally Katz.

On the plus side, Exec. Prod. Armstrong produced some fine curry, and when I mentioned the veg thing he improvised a passionfruit/raspberry/cream dealie that impressed this foodie.

Cycling home in the wee Sat. hours was an ordeal, but worth it. Sometimes your desire to be involved with the thriving Melbourne theatre scene is outstripped by your complete incapacity to hold a cogent conversation with a stranger. Not in this case. Good night.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Wanky Art of Not Being an Arty Wanker

It has come to my attention that a great deal of my considerable mental powers are expended fending off the thought that I might be an arty wanker. It's not something I confront directly, but once in a while I'll become conscious that I'm deliberately not mentioning something in case it gives the wrong impression. Mostly, however, I'm not even aware that I'm doing it.

So I think it's time to hitch our trousers, roll up our sleeves and spit in our hands before rubbing them together (not too much spit or rubbing) in order to take this question on and sort it out once and for all: AM I A PRETENTIOUS ARTY-FARTY WANKER?

The evidence in favour:

  1. I am currently listening to the avant-garde piano sounds of Erik Satie on my work computer(, when I could be listening to something that ROCKS! HARD!
  2. If I were to switch tunes, there is a strong possibility that I would go for an obscure electronic outfit which is really just a guy with a Mac in his bedroom making bleeps and sonic squiggles that sound chaotic and randomly assembled. You know, arty music. Perhaps from Iceland.
  3. I have attended the openings of every show put on by the Australian Ballet in Melbourne this year. And thoroughly enjoyed it.
  4. I have a painting by Brueghel as the backdrop to this blog.
  5. I have several paying jobs, every single one linked to the Arts in some way.
  6. I just capitalised the word Arts without even thinking.
  7. I have been to shows that I knew I would not enjoy, simply to know that I had seen them.
  8. I have had three coffees before 11am, and am considering another.
  9. I live in Melbourne.

That's all I can think of for the moment.

I now present the evidence against:

Let the jury decide.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Non Parlo di Salo

Last night's opening of the new Christos Tsiolkas/Spiro Economopoulos/Melbourne Worker's Theatre show Non Parlo di Salo went well off. In the foyer afterwards, the air was electric and had some people's hair standing on end. It was the kind of show that makes other shows look bad. And in tandem with Moira Finucane's Gotharama, now showing too, Melbourne should be feeling pretty lucky.

Better be made of sturdy stuff, though. The show features big black strapons, pretty explicit male-on-male sex (simulated, I think), shit-eating (again, ambiguously simulated), murder, ass-baring, crotch-rubbing, Italian-speaking and semi-polarised sunglasses-wearing (indoors).

All very tastefully done, of course. Lots of faces and I met quite a few new people (which is rare, since I'm such a shadow-lurking sociophobe).

But what I'm really here to write about is...the catering.

A fair amount of champagne, good, no food.

But forgivable, due to quality of show and lack of funding.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Too busy contemplating the series of triumphs that are my public and private life, I had simply forgotten to create a blog.

That is to change, from now on.